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The Element of Freedom

There are four predominant elements of Hip Hop Culture; dee jay, emcee, graffiti, and breakin. Today emceeing takes the forefront with dee jaying in the background while graffiti is still prevalent breakin doesn’t get the respect it deserves on the mainstream level. So what do these neglected elements need to do to get some respect in this new day and age? Don’t get me wrong both graffiti and breakin have their own respectable platforms and continue to maintain their integrity without departing from their core values. In this age of social media stunts how could the elements capitalize on this new form of marketing? Should the most popular person in each element do a social media rant? I mean do they have to get cosigned by a popular rapper?

There are community organizations and other platforms that support break dancing as a way to keep the culture moving forward but what can they do to get to the next level and have the freedoms that Rapping and Dee Jaying does? Rappers can use the element of emceeing to garner acting roles, podcasts, television and online shows, and other streams of revenue but for most graffiti artists they can’t risk being seen due to the nature of their work. Someone who does murals can do interviews and talk about their work because it was commissioned unlike their traditional counterparts. MF DOOM is anonymous although there are a handful of people who have seen his face. Jay Electronica only became “media friendly” over the last few years.

If it is going to tarnish the integrity of the element then I can understand however we have to make sure that none of the elements fall to the wayside or become extinct. The legends who became icons through their blood, sweat, and tears deserve to see the growing legacy of that they created as oppose to the downfall of either element. Being bogged down is different than deciding to remain underground for the sake of the culture. Once the popular person’s reign has ended what do they have left? Can they maneuver through the rest of the culture to remain relevant? Their livelihood and the livelihood of others’ depends on the choices that these artist make. A graffiti artist doesn’t make enough money to keep themselves afloat off of graffiti alone but wouldn’t it be great if they could transition into something else that could allow them to practice their element freely and allow the element itself to be free?

“They so careless, hip-hop is in awareness we give.” – KRS-ONE (9 Elements)

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